Daniel Santulli hazing: Frat brothers Ryan Delanty and Thomas Shultz charged in 'worst-ever' crime
Disclaimer: This article contains graphic footage which may be triggering to some readers
ST LOUIS COUNTY, MINNESOTA: Two men from St Louis County were charged on Friday, June 17, in the hazing of a University of Missouri-Columbia freshman who was left with severe brain damage, blindness, and other physical disabilities after consuming a liter of vodka at a fraternity event in October 2021.
In connection with the hazing of Daniel Santulli, 19, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, west of Minneapolis, a grand jury in Boone County charged Ryan Delanty of Manchester and Thomas Shultz of Chesterfield. They face misdemeanor charges including providing alcohol to an underage or intoxicated individual as well as felony hazing. Shultz is 21 while Delanty appears to be 20, although his precise age was unavailable.
The allegations are related to the hazing of 19-year-old Daniel Santulli, who was force-fed beer and pushed to drink a liter of vodka, leaving him blind and unable to move or speak. The incident was caught on tape. He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.486, which is six times the legal limit, and needed to be revived in a hospital after his heart stopped. The damage was “as horrible as it could possibly be and (have him) still be alive,” David Bianchi, an attorney who specializes in hazings and is representing Santulli’s family told The Post.
He added, “It’s the worst fraternity hazing injury ever in the United States,” saying he has “been doing these cases for 30 years.” “I know the defense lawyers who defend the fraternities. And everyone agrees this is the worst ever,” he insisted to the Post-Dispatch. Bianchi claims to have sued 23 members of a fraternity in civil cases, and all but two of them reached out-of-court settlements. "There are definitely another dozen or more fraternity members who were responsible for this hazing incident," he says.
Santulli had played basketball and baseball in high school, besides managing its hockey team. He had been recruited by a member of Phi Gamma Delta over the summer. According to the lawsuit, the fraternity asserted that there was a rigorous "no alcohol" policy in its chapter houses, but it was generally known that members “had been conducting themselves contrary to those values for years.”
Blood alcohol level: 0.468. That's nearly SIX times the legal limit. Family of Danny Santulli says Danny is left paralyzed and unresponsive after a hazing incident at Phi Gamma Delta at Mizzou. @kare11 pic.twitter.com/z3XiiRG6dc— Sharon Yoo (@SharonKARE11) February 3, 2022
According to the lawsuit, Santulli attended the "Pledge Dad Reveal Night" at the chapter house on the evening of October 19, 2021. ST. Louis Post reported that Santulli was sleep-deprived and stressed due to pledge events from the previous month, and he was “repeatedly ordered to clean the brothers’ rooms and bring food, alcohol and marijuana to them at all hours of the night.” Besides, he suffered a nasty cut on his foot after being told to climb inside a trash can containing shattered glass one night. He needed stitches, and crutches to walk.
He sobbed to his sister about the stress two nights prior to the hazing, and his parents advised him to quit the pledge process. “Danny, however, was not a quitter,” the lawsuit continues, “and, like so many pledges before him, did not want to be humiliated and ridiculed by those whose ranks he was trying to join. The defendants knew this and had seen it all before.”
Criminal charges for two #Mizzou "Fiji brothers" in connection with severe injuries that blinded, paralyzed frat pledge #DannySantulli. I hope the family keeps pushing until every single frat member who was there goes to the can. What a shameful lot. https://t.co/o8zNoCD2DD— Loukia Louka Borrell (@LoukiaBorrell) June 20, 2022
During the reveal night, Delanty, Santulli's "pledge dad," allegedly gave him a family-sized bottle of Tito's vodka and instructed him to drink it, while Alec Wetzler of St Louis allegedly poured beer into his mouth using a funnel and tube. An additional team member observed Santulli's decline but did nothing to assist him.
Santulli eventually slid off the couch and landed face down on the ground with pale skin and blue lips. Members of the group drove him to the hospital, where medical personnel discovered that he was not breathing and that his heart had stopped. He was subsequently revived and put on a ventilator. “Days later he was removed from the ventilator and started breathing on his own but he was unresponsive, unaware of his surroundings, unable to communicate and had a significant injury to his brain. He remains in that condition to this day,” the suit says.
The university said in a press release in May that 13 students had been reprimanded, but it didn't say how. Meanwhile, the chapter of Phi Gamma Delta has been kicked from campus. Shultz is also accused of tampering with tangible evidence, which is another felony. According to court records, Delanty resides in the 700 block of Andrew Ryan Lane in Manchester, while Shultz resides in the 14000 block of Boxford Court in Chesterfield. Each person posted a $50,000 bond.